After work today I headed for the garage/workshop to veneer the plywood edges of the large panels. But first I moved everything to the edges of the garage and swept out the sawdust and shavings. It was a sizable pile (with a few Fall leaves mixed in):
I trotted it out to the compost bin, which gets plenty of green waste but is always happy for a some atomized wood.
Each of the large panels for the built-in bed has three-ply thick raw edge like so:
Today’s project was to veneer these edges. Fortunately 2” edge banding in 8 foot lengths is easily available and perfectly sized for this project. I’ve never done heat-melt veneering before (or any sort of veneering for that matter), so I was a little nervous. I searched Lumberjocks for tips but didn’t find anything particularly enlightening. However, there was a fairly useful page at Joe Woodworker:
Although he’s talking about manual glue-up, it seemed to apply equally well to the pre-glued veneers. I used his recommended iron setting of “cotton” with a small amount of steam.
I prepared the veneer by rolling it backwards to flatten it out, and then taped it onto the raw edge with blue painter’s tape. I wasn’t sure how the tape would react to the iron, but the panel will be painted so I wasn’t too worried about ruining the surface. (As it turned out, the tape came off easily but did leave some residue behind.)
I then ironed it and rolled it. The blue tape had a secondary benefit of marking out “sections” that I worked in sequence. That was a fairly good approach, although I did have trouble on the knee curve because the iron didn’t fit very well along the curve. I managed by using the pointy nose of the iron.
After the ironing, I let the glue set while I took Madame President out for Chinese food.
After dinner, I trimmed the veneer using the Band-It veneer trimmer:
This worked okay, but I found I had to angle the trimmer into the cut to trim close to the wood. If I ran it flat along the wood as suggested it had a tendency to just bend the veneer over instead of cutting it. One side of the trimmer also flexed apart along one of the plastic seams. Overall not a terrible tool (and probably better than I could have done with a mat knife) but one that took a little twiddling to be effective.
The trimmer left some high points, but I was able to take those down fairly easily with my little bullnose plane. The result:
After trimming there was one loose edge on one of the panels, but I was able to fix that easily by re-ironing in that spot. Overall I’m pretty happy with the result (it being my first attempt at veneering) and it should look fine once it is painted. My wife’s comment was “It’s as good as Ikea!” which I’m still analyzing :-)